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UPS Denies Helping the NSA 'Interdict' Packages 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-can-brown-do-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Glenn Greenwald's book came out recently, one of the most startling revelations was that the NSA has been intercepting shipments of networking gear to add spyware. Cisco was one of the vendors whose gear was altered, and now their shipping provider has spoken up about it: 'UPS, which Cisco has used since 1997 to ship hardware to customers around the world, said on Thursday that it did not voluntarily allow government officials to inspect its packages unless it is required to do so by law. "UPS' long-standing policy is to require a legal court-ordered process, such as a subpoena, before responding to any third-party requests," UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross wrote in an e-mail to TheBlot Magazine. "UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments." In a follow-up e-mail, Ross said UPS had no knowledge of similar orders from the FBI, CIA or any other federal agency.' That sounds like carefully parsed language to me. 'Did not voluntarily,' 'unless it is required to do so by law.' Perhaps they're bound by a National Security Letter?"
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UPS Denies Helping the NSA 'Interdict' Packages

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  • Guilty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noah Haders (3621429) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:40AM (#47128181)
    Not voluntarily unless required by law? Why do companies release statements like this? It just makes them seem more guilty. Better not to say anything.
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:43AM (#47128211) Journal
    Too many secrets.

    I watched sneakers a couple days ago (it's on netflix) and nearly shit my pants at the end when Robert Redford reveals the magic decryptor box isn't for spying on the russians, it's "for spying on us". (Of course, they meant the NSA was spying on the FBI/CIA but still... future predicted).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:43AM (#47128213)

    When you weaponize U.S. technology products to the extent that the NSA has, don't be surprised when no one wants to buy those products in the future.

    What foreign CEO or government official wants U.S. technology in control of their banking industry? Their communications infrastructure? Their manufacuring base? Their electrical power and distribution network?

    Can you imagine the U.S. response if the critical infrastructure items such as those listed above were found out to be backdoor and controllable at will by the Russians? Chinese? Indians?

    The U.S. has a serious reputation problem right now. We need to stop this nonsense immediately if we expect our tech industry to survive.

    It takes a second to destroy a reputation - it takes years, sometimes decades to build it back.

  • Possibly... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:44AM (#47128221)

    "Perhaps they're bound by a National Security Letter?"

    Maybe. It could also be exactly what they say - When presented by an actual warrant to intercept items (EG for goods purchased with stolen credit cards or contraband) they follow it. That WOULD include national security incidents too but, as they say "UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments" and I'd think a gag order would prevent them from affirming or denying the issue.

  • Re:Weasel words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:44AM (#47128223)

    "UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments."

    Because we know the NSA never does anything without a valid court order.

  • by jythie (914043) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:49AM (#47128259)
    And of course they are blaming the economic damage on getting caught as opposed to, well, what they were doing.
  • Re:Trust! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 30, 2014 @09:56AM (#47128321)

    You know that the US resembles more and more the USSR of old? The way to get to the result is a different one, the end result is the same: You have a population that is mostly apathetic towards its government. And whoever isn't apathetic outright hates it. You have a secret service that seems to be more concerned with domestic spying than foreign intelligence, simply because the state and the powers that are fear their "internal" enemies more than they fears anyone coming from abroad. You have a small "elite" that mostly stays within its own circle who share the power in the country while everyone else is mostly powerless. And you have a mainstream press that toes the party line.

    It's actually pretty amazing. You needn't have a totalitarian dictatorship to create a situation where you can bullshit and oppress most of the population. But what you DO need is an absence of a better system. That's what fell the communist systems and what keeps the current one we have alive: We lack the "west" they had.

  • Re:Trust! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:41AM (#47128651)

    As I said, we lack the "west". Sadly, there is nowhere to run.

    Why do you think you can still travel? Having a right is pointless if there's no way to make use of it.

  • by plazman30 (531348) on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:47AM (#47128711) Homepage
    Of course they're gagged by a National Security Letter. This whole process is disgusting.
  • Re:Trust! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:54AM (#47128775)

    I would argue this is because the average American has been sold a lie - that a society's economic system is equivalent to its system of government. So long as America remains a free market, there is no way that we could ever slip into bureaucratic decline.

    The problem is, that the "free market" essentially amounts to a privatization of bureaucracy, not its elimination. We've granted trust to a small class of individuals on the promise they will free us, and unsuprisingly, they are betraying that trust. This is where we now resemble the USSR - the blind allegiance of the multitude to the promises of the few elite in the political class.

  • Re:Guilty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotDrWho (3543773) on Friday May 30, 2014 @11:18AM (#47128969)

    Here is the quote from the article:

    “UPS’ long-standing policy is to require a legal court-ordered process, such as a subpoena, before responding to any third-party requests,” UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross wrote in an e-mail to TheBlot Magazine. “UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments.”

    When you parse the language and translate it from PR-speak/legalese, you realize that this is basically a meaningless statement. The first sentence is boilerplate BS, and has nothing to do with the allegation at hand at all. "We have a long-standing policy not to do X" *IS NOT* the same as saying "We didn't do X" (though that's what they want you to believe they're saying, of course). The second part of the statement only tells us that the NSA didn't get a court order to do this, *NOT* that UPS didn't let them do it anyway without a court order.

    And what the whole statement is absolutely NOT is an actual denial. In short, if UPS *REALLY* didn't let the NSA intercept their packages, they could have released a very simple statement saying "UPS did not and does not let the NSA intercept our packages." What they released was some vague boilerplate BS that basically says fuck all.

  • Re:Guilty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday May 30, 2014 @11:28AM (#47129071)

    Not voluntarily unless required by law? Why do companies release statements like this? It just makes them seem more guilty. Better not to say anything.

    Maybe that's the entire point. They're not allowed to complain out loud because of an NSL but they can make it clear what's going on and that it's hurting them with a statement like this.

    It's long past time for us to decide our government should not be keeping secrets. They clearly cause far more harm than they help. At worst, some criminals get away. How does that saying go? It's better to free 100 guilty men than imprison 1 innocent?

  • by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Friday May 30, 2014 @12:19PM (#47129447)

    No. A person exposing a crime is not responsible for the consequences.

    A guy starts driving home from a bar while being completely hammered. Someone sees him swerving on the road and calls the cops. The drunk driver can't go back and sue to the person who reported him for damages stemming from the DUI fine and loss of driving privileges.

    Eventually what the NSA would have been found out, and the piper would have to paid. Snowden did us ALL a huge favor by getting this out in the open and hopefully stopped.

    Stop covering for these asshats. The damage to the tech industry is on the NSA, and maybe on us for allowing such secretive government agencies to exist in the first place. The founding fathers would have been absolutely aghast at the IDEA of a NSL.

  • Re:Guilty (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pnutjam (523990) <slashdot@@@borowicz...org> on Friday May 30, 2014 @01:59PM (#47130323) Homepage Journal
    I blame Nixon.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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